It is easy to forget that we are all children of Our First Mother of Creation. Examples can be found throughout nature that connects us to our First Family and Plant Nation relatives. From the flowing river systems that are our veins, to the cedar tree that is our brain stem, the patterns of connectivity are not only beautiful but also inspiring. When I draw or paint I humble myself and try to capture a fragment of the messages, stories, instructions, teachings and beauty that Creation has to provide.
My spirit name Wiishkoonseh Miigizi'enh means Whistling White Headed Eagle. I grew up in Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation and I have apprenticed with Storytellers since I was young. I have a responsibility to continue this legacy for the healing of my own people while connecting to the broader world. Sources of my artistic inspiration include woodland painters, Story Tellers and the traditions of my culture. In a time of reconciliation, it is important for all people to know that we exist and have such a strong, beautiful legacy of stories and teachings from the Anishinaabe Nation that are grounded in my experience and identity.
As an Oshkaabewis (Traditional Helper) who previously worked with Anishnawbe Health Toronto, I have been able to incorporate teachings based on traditional knowledge into each project. Our stories resonate with people across different cultures and they carry universal messages of love, kindness, fairness and care for Mother Earth.
Together in partnership with TakingITGlobal, I developed the Connecting With Our First Family collection of 81 images of animals and plant medicine that have been featured as part of Ojibwe Language learning resource materials in support of Indigenous students who are part of the Connected North program. Connected North serves over 10,000 Indigenous students in 42 schools based in northern, remote communities across Canada through virtual field trips with inspirational guest speakers and role models.
Nyle Miigizi Johnston, Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation